Chantelle strikes gold

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Chantelle Morrison is Cayman’s
CARIFTA gold medal star after sizzling to the girls Under-17 100 metres title.

The 16-year-old sprinter blitzed
down the track at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Saturday to win in 11.74
seconds.

She ran a lap of honour with a huge
Cayman Islands flag to rapturous applause from the packed stadium of 5,000.

A breathless Ms Morrison said
after: “I was very confident and relaxed at the start. My family and friends
were out here to cheer me on so I wasn’t that nervous.”

She had every right to be
confident. Last year she took CARIFTA bronze behind two Jamaicans when still a
year younger than most of the other competitors.

Gold was always her top priority
this time round, especially when Cayman was awarded the CARIFTA Games (for athletes
aged up to 19) at short notice last October.

Ms Morrison powered in front of
Channiel Johnson from the start and finished so far ahead of the Jamaican she
was able to celebrate on the line. Marvar Etienne of the Bahamas was third.

Ms Morrison was the fastest girl
15-year-old in the world last year and seems set to hold on to that title at
16.

Rayle Roberts, president of the Cayman
Islands Athletics Association, said: “I think this is an awesome achievement
for the Islands. It shows that we still have talent here and that even though
we have world class athletes retiring, we also have world class athletes coming
up.

“For Chantelle it was such an
emotional moment. She was crying with her family. 

“I think this is going to do
tremendous things for sport in Cayman like Usain Bolt has done in Jamaica.
Because anywhere you get people doing brilliant things like that you get kids
who are more focused and dedicated.

“There is nothing more I can ask
for as the president in terms of boosting the programme.

“When an athlete performs this well
this early in the Games, that medal means so much to us as a country.”

Ms Morrison intended to add the
200m title to her haul, but on Sunday struggled to finish when after two-thirds
of the race she suddenly slowed.

She pulled up on the line clutching
her right thigh but still finished third so qualified for the final.

It appeared to be a pulled
hamstring but turned out not to be that serious and just an attack of cramp.

Ms Morrison missed the girls relay
Sunday night as a precaution but hoped to run in the 200m final last night.

She was Cayman’s only medallist
after two days although Travis Webb came fourth in the men’s U-20 high jump
with a leap of 2 metres 8 centimetres.

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Morrison wins CARIFTA gold
Photo: Submitted
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